Saturday, 15 December 2012

Broken Wings: 6

Chapter 6

I was awakened by the sound of thunder. I fell asleep on my mother’s bed, holding the diary. I rubbed my sleepy eyes and looked at the watch. It was half past midnight. I yawned and stretched my body a bit. I haven’t perform the Isya’ prayer yet. I stared at the blue leathered diary. I was able to discover my mother’s childhood in it. Mother never mentioned about her childhood past to me or my other two siblings. Only father told us about his adventurous childhood past.

I learned a little bit about my biological grandparents. I can’t believe they abandoned my mother just because she wasn’t as smart as her brother and her sister. Wait. Aunt Nazatul is mother’s sister, her true sister. She’s one of the people whom my mother trust most besides Uncle Shah’s family. But in this diary, mother said that she hated her real family, which means that she hated Aunt Nazatul too.

I needed to ask Aunt Nazatul about this. I slowly put the diary into the drawer. I wanted to read the second diary later on. I went to the bathroom and washed my face and took a wudhu’. Then, I went to my own room to perform Isya’ prayer.

After praying, I thought about mother’s life for a while. She was abandoned and she lived with her aunt, whom I called Granny because I thought it was my biological Granny. She passed away years ago, when I was in secondary school. Mother was very upset after her death. It took nearly a year to regain mother’s will back. And thanks to father who always supported her.

Did father know about mother’s past? The question was lingering in my mind. I sighed and folded the sejadah. I needed to hit the sack. It was late but fortunately tomorrow is Sunday so I could read the diary more. But I really need to ask Aunt Nazatul about mother. She’s the one who knew everything about mother’s past.

*          *         *

Middle June, 1975.

Kalsom filled the metal stacked containers with rice and gravy and some vegetables for her Ayah. She did the cooking with her cousin, Merdu. It was a mundane weekend but as usual, Kalsom loved weekend. She usually went to the paddy-field and helped her aunt and uncle. She enjoyed working on the field with her neighbours and her cousins. For her, they were her new family now.

Merdu stacked the containers and made sure that the gravy wouldn’t spill. Kalsom put the water flasks in the rattan basket. Both of them were ready to go to the paddy-field. They rode an old bicycle; Kalsom cycled while Merdu sat at the back, holding the stacked containers. They rode along the road while sang a song that they used to sing every time they rode bicycle.

They reached the paddy-field few minutes later. Kalsom carefully leant the bicycle to the tree and walked to where her Ummi and Ayah were waiting under the small hut. Merdu brought the stacked containers to the hut and they un-stacked them. Karamah, Merdu’s mother, served the plate while Malik, Merdu’s father called for his sons who were still working on the field.

Malik has 6 children, including Kalsom. Although Kalsom was his niece but he treated her just like his own daughter. Both he and Karamah loved Kalsom very much because Kalsom never complained living in poor family. In fact, Kalsom loved living here rather than the place that used to be her house.

Merdu’s brothers, Shah, Raheem and Subhi joined them eating lunch under the hut. Karamah and Kalsom served the food. Malik recited the du’a before eating. Kalsom watched his father eat his food. She calmly anticipated for his comments. Kalsom cooked the groovy today and she didn’t know whether the gravy was good or not even though Merdu told her umpteenth times that the gravy was delicious.

Kalsom watched her father munched the rice. She didn’t touch hers yet. Malik realized that Kalsom was watching her. He smiled and licked his finger.

“This one is delicious than usual,” he said.

Kalsom smiled widely. She knew that her father loved the gravy. She put a lot of effort to make the delicious gravy. All thanks to Karamah and Merdu who taught Kalsom to improve her cooking.

“You’re right, Ayah. It is delicious,” praised Raheem with a smile and put another mouthful of rice inside his mouth.

Besides Merdu, Raheem also close to Kalsom.

Dear Diary,

I am so happy today because Ayah praised my gravy this afternoon. Everybody said it was delicious! But I still cannot beat Mak’s cooking. She’s the best cook in the world! Abang Shah also said that I need to learn a lot from Mak if I want to be a great cook just like her. Abang Shah rarely talks to me but I know he’s a good brother. He’s not like Abang Heem, who likes to tease me and Merdu. Abang Heem just finish school and he works with Mak and Ayah and Abang Shah at the field. Merdu, Abang Subhi and I are still schooling.

I really missed Kak Yah. She’ll come back next month. She studies at the university which is far away from here. She’s very smart and got scholarship. Everyone is proud of her. I like to hear her stories about her university and her life there. Abang Shah is supposed to further his study too but he doesn’t want to. He wants us to be successful. He prefers helping Mak and Ayah at the field.

I know that Abang Shah sacrifices a lot for me. I still remember the day when I entered secondary school. He told Ayah that I need to have better education although the school is just a rural school. He dropped out from school that day. When I knew that news, I cried and cried until I felt that my tears dry. He comforted me and told me to promise him that I have to be a successful person.

He’s a nice eldest brother I ever have! Although he is very strict, but he loves all of us. He’s very protective especially towards us, the sisters.

Tomorrow is Sunday. I have to go to school. I need to sleep early because I want to help Mak to cook Nasi Lemak for breakfast and for selling. I love to sell Nasi Lemak on the way to school with Merdu.

Kalsom and Merdu went to school by walking. They carried a basket full of Nasi Lemak to be sold in the school canteen. Sometimes they did the extra work after school. The teachers were proud to have hardworking students like them and everyone in that school loved the Nasi Lemak.

The school was kind of small and there were only less than 100 students studied there. The buildings were made by wood and there were only three buildings – one for classes, one for teachers’ room and one for the office.

It was middle June so the weather is quite hot. Sometimes they brought extra rough papers to make a paper fan. Kalsom flapped her paper fans as she tried to concentrate what the teacher was teaching. It was Mathematics class and she was still weak in this subject. But she always asked the teacher is she didn’t understand.

But she still couldn’t get rid of her fear - the test and examination. If the teacher announced there will be a test on the next day, she couldn’t sleep. She felt miserable and a little bit depressed. She couldn’t forget the casualty that she faced a long time ago; the insult, the pain and the devastation.

Sometimes she had a nightmare that she could even imagine. The dark reminiscence of the past was still somewhere inside her mind. She slowly forgot about her own family who dumped her but she never forgot the pain that she had gone through.  

Friday, 7 December 2012

Broken Wings: 5

Chapter 5

Dear Diary,

Guess where am I, now? I’m at Tok Wan’s house! Isn’t it great? I’ve been longing to stay with Tok Wan. I’ve been waiting for the end-year school holiday just to stay with Tok Wan and Mak Su and my other cousins.

The rest of my family went to Kuala Lumpur this morning for vacation. As usual, they didn’t bring me along. Mama said that I’ll keep irritating her if she brought me along. Well, I don’t want to go to Kuala Lumpur in the first place. Kak Naz said that we have relative there but I never knew them since the day I can remember.

I woke early this morning and Mak Su’s cook cooked us special meal just for me. They treated me well here even though they are far richer than my family. Tok Wan is a rich man but he’s very humble, not like Mama and Papa. Papa is quite okay, I guess but Mama is not a humble person at all. She always brags that she’s rich and has two brilliant children - of course I’m not included.

Today, Tok Wan brought me to his orchard. He has a lot of orchards – I think more than 3. We plucked rambutans and mangosteens. I love rambutans and I even ate them on the branch. Tok Wan let me climbed the trees with my other male cousins. I was very happy today. We brought those fruits back home. Tonight, we’re going to the orchard again, this time we’re going to wait for the durians to fall from the tree.

Dear Diary,

We got a lot of durians last night. I caught three with my cousin, Mat Jie. He has a very good ears and he could hear the sound of durian falling from the distance. We brought torchlight and wore something hard on our head so that the durians won’t fall on our head – we will die for sure!

Mak Su taught me how to do the tempoyak but I don’t like to eat tempoyak as I like to eat the raw durians. We took a bath at the nearby river because eating too much durians made our body become hot in the inside. I love swimming in the river. The river is so clean and the water refreshes my body.

We went to the field to fly the kites. Tok Wan taught me how to do a kite with the kite-paper. My kite flew high in the sky and that made me very happy. I wish I could fly like a kite in the sky.

Dear Diary,

I have a wonderful dream last night. I dreamt that I was flying in the sky. But it was scary too because I flew so high that I couldn’t see the land. But I finally woke up when Tok Wan shook my shoulder gently.

We went to the mosque for the Subuh prayer. Today is Friday and Tok Wan usually took all of us to the mosque nearby. We went there by walking. Only Mak Su and my younger cousin stayed at home. I was very sleepy and I slept during the Kuliyyah. Papa never brought me to the mosque before but he always go for Jumaat prayer every Friday with Abang Lan. Sometimes Abang Lan skipped the Jumaat prayer - he said that he’s too tired after playing football with his friends.

Pak Su and Tok Wan are very strict when it comes to the daily prayers. They will scold us if we skipped or prayed in the eleventh hour. All of my cousins are very discipline when it comes to prayers. So, I think I must be like them because Tok Wan said that if we always pray every day, we can go to Heaven. In Heaven, we can live the most wonderful life ever! We can ask Allah anything that we want! I want to go to Heaven when I die one day.

Before going to bed, Kalsom always calmly anticipating what will happen on the next day. Staying with her paternal grandfather was a heaven to her. Even though she only had to stay not more than a week, she was feeling grateful because the days she spent with her grandfather were sacred to her. She was happy and the only people who understand her were them.  

But her happiness subsided as her family arrived on the next day. She knew that her mother wanted to pick her up. Her mother never let her stay at her grandfather’s place for too long – because they were rich. She didn’t understand why her mother hated this side of family so much, especially when her aunt was there. Her aunt, her father’s youngest sister, was a nice and pretty person. She just got married and she loved Kalsom so much. She never saw her mother smiled or talked to her except when she opposed her or boasted about her situation.

Kalsom waved to her grandfather as she got on the car. She was feeling a little bit sad but she’ll meet her grandfather again during the next school holiday. She didn’t fall asleep on the way back home and she had the uncomfortable feeling when her mother called her name suddenly.

“Papa and I were discussing lately, about you. I think it’s time for you to learn the truth,” said Rohaya.

Kalsom frowned. The truth? What was her mother trying to say?

“From this day onward, you’ll be staying with my sister. We have no interested in taking care of you. You wasted our money in paying the school fees. We’ve sent you to the best school but you disappointed us. Then, I realized that you’re not even belong to this family in the first place,” Rohaya continued.

“What do you mean?” asked Kalsom. She had a bad feeling about this. She could feel that her mother was smiling satisfyingly.

“You are not my daughter, Kalsom. I adopted you when you’re a baby. We trained you well to be smart like Azlan and Nazatul but we failed. No, you are not born with good brain. That’s why, Papa and I don’t need you to live with us anymore. Isn’t, Papa?” Rohaya turned to the husband who was driving the car.

“I only have two children. Two is enough,” said Mr. Johari coldly.

Azlan was chuckling while glancing at Kalsom. Nazatul, on the other hand, kept her head down. She didn’t want to look at Kalsom’s face. Kalsom was shocked to hear the horrible news but she didn’t say anything. She felt like she was dreaming but she’s not. She felt nothing – zilch.

They arrived at Rohaya’s sister’s house. Both Mr. Johari and Rohaya got out of the car. Kalsom followed them not long after that. Mr. Johari opened the boot and took Kalsom’s belonging out. Rohaya told her sister that she didn’t need Kalsom anymore so Kalsom had to stay with her.

Rohaya’s sister, Karamah, was shocked to hear what Rohaya said to her. She knew her sister was a bit arrogant but this was far too cruel. Karamah’s husband stared at Mr. Johari. He hated this man from the very beginning. And Rohaya too.

“So long, Kalsom. Don’t ever think that we’re going to see you for the rest of our lives!” Her mother snorted and got into the car. They left Kalsom without saying a word. At that moment, a spark of hatred flashed in Kalsom’s heart.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Broken Wings: 4

Chapter 4

Mr. Johari was a man with few words. He seldom talked unless it’s important and his hobby was reading newspaper every morning during breakfast. His breakfast meal was the same; toasted bread and coffee. Blessed with three children, he tended to work harder than before. He owned a timber company, inherited by his father. He’s one of the richest man in this small village and everyone respected him.

He married Rohaya when they met at the university and his first gaze locked to Rohaya when they were in the same class in the second year. He loved Rohaya so much until now and always did whatever she said. He was strict towards his children, especially to Kalsom, but he never been strict to Rohaya. He sometimes neglected his youngest child and let her being scolded by his wife even though he knew that Kalsom didn’t do anything wrong.

Rohaya was scolding Kalsom because she didn’t get all A’s in her Standard 6 Exam and this made Rohaya very frustrated. She screamed and yelled at Kalsom, telling her that she’s too stupid to get all A’s.

“I told you for umpteenth time that you shouldn’t be friend with that brat, Asiah! Now look at your result!” she banged on the dining table where Kalsom was sitting.

Kalsom looked at the result than to her mother. This time, she didn’t cry liked she used to.

“That poor girl affecting your brain!” scolded Rohaya, her hands on her hips.

“That poor girl is my best friend!” Kalsom talked back. She stood up from her seat.

“How dare you talk back to me, you insolent child!” Rohaya was enraged. She was in the verge of her anger. “This is that poor brat’s fault. She told you to do this, didn’t she? Didn’t she?”

Kalsom left her mother and went to her room. She was totally annoyed of the screaming and yelling. And the thing that she hated most was her mother insulting her best friend. Asiah didn’t do anything to her. She got good grades and she’s better than her. Asiah will further her study to the boarding school, just like her brother, Marwan. Kalsom will be left alone in the new school.

She sighed heavily and sat on her bed. She has gone into overdrive two months before the exam. She studied with Nazatul, especially Mathematics – the subject that she weak the most. Asiah always helped her in doing revisions and she even gave her spirit not to give up. She mostly spent her time in the library until late evening – and still she got an earful from her mother because coming home late.

She crumpled her result paper. She wanted to throw that thing away. She wanted to scream and shouted to everyone in this house that she had worked so hard and yet she didn’t get what she had hoped for. Sometimes, she got this ominous feeling that she should ran away from this horrible house. She had had enough with this miserable life where nobody cared about her feelings, except for Nazatul. She knew that Nazatul was the one that she believe in.

It was end-of-the-year school break. Everyone was very happy for the school break, including Kalsom and Asiah. Both of them were looking forward where to spend their holidays. Kalsom told Asiah that she’ll be staying at her paternal grandfather’s house in the other district and she’ll come back few days before the end of the school break. But Kalsom never told her that her family will be going for a vacation to Singapore.

“Before we going back, can you accompany me to the main hall?” asked Kalsom as they walked along the corridor.

“Sure. I know you want to say goodbye to the piano there, am I right?” Asiah smiled. She knew that her best friend loved that piano in the main hall.

Kalsom nodded and both of them walked to the main hall. Kalsom was a little bit sad because that day was the last day of school and she won’t be able to see that grand piano that caught her heart anymore.

They heard the sound of piano when they nearly reached the hall. Kalsom and Asiah looked at each other and guessed who was playing it. They slowly took a peek inside the piano and saw a boy was playing it smoothly. The melody was flawless and mesmerized both Kalsom and Asiah. They walked further in silence for they didn’t want to disturb the boy.

“Ah, it’s you, Kalsom, Asiah,” the boy noticed their appearance. “What are you doing here?” he asked and stopped playing.

“Ah Ken? You can play the piano?” asked Kalsom with shining eyes.

The boy, Ah Ken, nodded. Ah Ken was one of Kalsom’s classmates. He’s smart and friendly, and good in sport too. This was the first time Kalsom saw Ah Ken played the piano.

“That’s great. I haven’t seen you play before,” praised Asiah.

“I learned with a foreigner teacher. He always comes to my house every weekend,” Ah Ken smiled.

“Can you play something nice for us? Today is the last day we’re here. I really like piano but I don’t know how to play,” asked Kalsom eagerly.

“Sure, Som,” Ah Ken nodded and started to play ‘Auld Lang Sine’. Kalsom and Asiah were fascinated to see Ah Ken fingers touched smoothly on the keys.

They listened to the melody until Ah Ken finished playing the piece. It was sad but Kalsom was satisfied and happy because she could hear the music produced by the grand piano. They said goodbye to Ah Ken and walked home.

Before they departed, Kalsom hugged Asiah as they wouldn’t e able to spend much time like usual. She knew that Asiah will go to boarding school after the school break. They had been friends for 6 years.

Dear Diary,
I am so sad today because I won’t be seeing Asiah like I used to be. Mama and Papa didn’t talk to me after the result came out last week, even during the meal time. They ignored me like I don’t even exist in this house. Only Kak Naz is talking to me.

I know that I’ll be spending my time at Tok Wan’s house soon. I can’t wait! I miss Tok Wan and other cousins. We’ll be having a lot of adventures there.

Oh, by the way, Ah Ken played the piano before we left the school. I never thought that he can play the piano. He said that a foreigner teacher taught him. I wish I could go to his house and learn with that foreigner teacher. Then I’ll do a performance and my family will be proud of me and accept me as who I am. But I think that won’t work since Mama doesn’t like anything that I can do.

I don’t mind. As long as I have Kak Naz and Mak Mah with me, everything should be fine. I know they won’t be deceitful like those three.

It was midnight. Nazatul suddenly woke up and looked around, rubbing her sleepy eyes. She saw Kalsom sleeping soundly beside her. She wanted to go to the toilet. She gently placed her hand on Kalsom’s shoulder, trying to wake her up but Kalsom didn’t budge. Kalsom might be tired since she had been scolded by her mother. She sighed heavily and reached across the desk beside the bed to get the torchlight.

She slowly tiptoed to the kitchen, holding the torchlight nervously. She’s kind of afraid of the apparitions that she heard from her friends but she never encountered one. And she didn’t want to encounter the apparitions in this kind of situation. The toilet was situated at the kitchen.

She went back to her room after having a pee. As she walked to her room, she saw a dim light in the living room. She tiptoed silently and heard noises. She peeped to the living room and saw her parents were talking to each other. They didn’t go to sleep yet at this time. Nazatul was curious. She hid behind the wall, trying to hear what her parents were talking about.

“We must do something, dear. That girl is being so difficult lately!” Rohaya grumbled. “Look at her. She now dares to talk back to me. It’s all because of that poor brat!”

“Now, now, honey. You must stay calm,” consoled Johari. “We can’t blame that poor girl because she got the good result, better than Kalsom. I think the problem is from Kalsom herself.”

“Yes, yes. You’re right, my dear,” Rohaya was calmed a little bit and sat beside her husband. “I think we should put her in your father’s care. Your father loves her very much and I don’t know why he loves Kalsom. She’s not as smart as our two other children yet he cares Kalsom more than anything.

“I have enough bringing up that insolent child! We must get rid of her from this house at once, before she influenced Naz. You see, Naz is very close to her and I don’t want Naz being not smart as her,” said Rohaya.

Nazatul gasped. She never thought her mother would do that to Kalsom.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Broken Wings: 3

Chapter 3

16 August 1971

Mama scolded me because I went to play at Asiah’s house. She heard me when I was talking to Kak Naz about Abang Marwan who came back for the weekend. Mama pinched me on my right arm and she forbade me to eat together so I have to wait until they finished eating. But I’m not hungry because Asiah’s mother invited me to eat goreng pisang before I left. Asiah’s mother is very kind. Her father is kind too. Papa and Mama never talk to me like Asiah’s parents do. I don’t know why. Mama keeps blaming me for almost everything. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really belong to this family. Maybe I belong to someone else.

Then the idea hit her like a storm. What if she was adopted? Or her mother had to raise her because her real family has gone forever. Those crazy thoughts were playing on her mind. She wanted to ask her mother but she didn’t dare. She asked her sister once, but her sister said nothing. Let alone Azlan, he never talk to her since she was very small.

She then wrote something in her diary.

I need to find out who I am and where do I belong if this family is not my real family.

Weekend was Kalsom’s favourite. Although she had to do all the house chores, she didn’t mind as long as it’s weekend. Her family will go for outing somewhere in town and be back in the evening. Those two days were sacred to her. She didn’t mind if her family left her alone in that house. She didn’t mind if her family came back with smiling faces and laughter. She didn’t mind if they didn’t buy anything for her.

She’s happy because there’s one person who will accompany her – Mak Mah. She’s the cook and she worked there since Kalsom was a small child. Kalsom treated her like her own mother and Mak Mah did the same. Mak Mah worked from dawn until dusk. She’s the best cook in the house and Kalsom learned cooking from her.

Sometimes Mak Mah pitied Kalsom because her mother didn’t treat her like she treated Azlan and Nazatul. Her mother, Rohaya, always blamed Kalsom for everything. If there’s something wrong that day, she’ll say that it was all Kalsom’s fault because she brought bad luck to the family. But Kalsom couldn’t say anything, neither did Mak Mah.

“Mak Mah, what do you want to cook today?” asked Kalsom as she finished sweeping the backyard.

“What do you want to eat for today? Your mother asked me to buy a chicken this morning. I bought it from Pak Jamal.” asked Mak Mah back with a smile.

“Hmm…let’s see,” Kalsom had a thought for a while. “I really want to eat chicken soup today. It’s my favourite. Plus, I don’t think Mama and the others will come back this afternoon. They usually come back late,” she replied.

“Okay then. I’ll do the chicken and you do the spices,” said Mak Mah.

Kalsom nodded happily and they cooked together. Kalsom was good in cooking and all the handy works. Even though she was slow in her academics, but when it comes to handy works, she was the best. She could even sew too! Mak Mah taught her sewing and also knitting but Kalsom loved sewing the most.

She showed to her mother embroideries that she sewed but her mother didn’t praise her work but told her that she couldn’t make money by doing that. But Kalsom never gave up. She wanted to show her mother that she got another talent besides not to be number one student in school.

After finish eating, Kalsom took a short nap for a while. During weekdays, she couldn’t take a nap because her mother forbade her not to. Sometimes Nazatul will persuade her mother if Kalsom was very exhausted. Nazatul loved her sister even though they argued and Nazatul was the only sibling whom Kalsom could rely with. Unlike her brother, Azlan, he never cared about Kalsom nor talked to her.

Dear Diary,

Mama and Papa came back home nearly dusk and they looked happy. Kak Naz told me that they went to the beach for the picnic and after that they went to town. Mama bought a lovely dress for Kak Naz and she said that I can have it when I become a little bit taller.

Kak Naz always let me wear her old dresses. They seem old but for me, they are still beautiful. Mama never bought me lovely dresses like Kak Naz but she always bought me one pair of baju kurung for Eid Celebration. I don’t like the colour and the pattern but I can’t say anything because Mama will scold at me and throw away the baju kurung. She’d done it once, the night of Eid Celebration but Tok Wan bought another baju kurung for me.

I miss Tok Wan very much and I can’t wait for the school break. I don’t know why Mama doesn’t like to go to Tok Wan’s house, or Mak Ngah’s house. She only sends me there if she wants to go for a family vacation.

Kalsom was interrupted by her mother who’s yelling for her name. She quickly hid the book and rushed out of her room which she shared with Nazatul. Rohaya scolded her for not wiping the dining table. She wiped the table earlier but Rohaya didn’t satisfy. She pinched Kalsom’s arms and slapped her on her face. Kalsom held back her tears and wiped the table until it clean.

“You’re worthless child! There’s nothing you can do perfectly! You have small brains and stupid!” her mother yelled at her, pinching her arms again. “Why can’t you be more like Nazatul. She’s beautiful and got brain. You have no brain and ugly!”

Then Rohaya insulted her again and again, telling her that she’s worst than a worm. Kalsom ignored the insults and went to her room. She didn’t cry because crying won’t change anything. Nazatul consoled her but she felt nothing. Inside her heart was empty.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Broken Wings: 2

Chapter 2

 She quickened her pace as she was getting near the main hall. She came to school earlier than usual because she was eager to see the thing that she had seen yesterday closer. She urged her sister, Nazatul, to send her to school early. She didn’t tell her the main reason she wanted to go early. She and Nazatul had a row from their room to the kitchen, driving their mother mad. But the mother only scolded Kalsom for she hated her raising her voice, especially in the kitchen early in the morning.

Kalsom ate her breakfast as quick as she could and gulped down the tea. Her mother prepared lunch box for each of her children but Kalsom’s lunch box was fewer than the rest. But Kalsom didn’t mind at all because she knew her mother didn’t love her as much as she loved her brother and sister. Her brother, Azlan, always woke up late but her mother didn’t say anything but greeted her nicely. But when Kalsom woke up late, she scolded her plus giving few slaps on her back.

Kalsom trotted behind her sister as they wanted to go to school. This time, she didn’t nag her because she knew that it was still early. Nazatul waved goodbye to her mother and paddled her bike which was called basikal tua (Malay for old bicycle) and it was quite popular at that time. Kalsom loved riding it because the bicycle was a little bit taller and she felt like she’s riding on a wind.

As she arrived at the school gate, she quickly hopped down the bike without waving her sister goodbye and rushed to her class. She put her lunch box inside her table, which was situated near the window, facing the assembly court. She then put the bag on the chair and looked at the duty roster pasted on the notice board beside the blackboard. It wasn’t her turn that day so she still had time to go to the main hall. She glanced at the clock. It’s still 7.06. She smiled and walked to the main hall in fast pace.

She peered inside the main hall which was a little bit dark. She trotted slowly towards the thing that she saw yesterday. It was a grand piano and this was the first time she saw it with her own eyes. She was fascinated with the vibrant black of the grand piano. She ran her hands on it. The piano was very smooth and for her, this grand piano was seamless. She took a seat and looked in amaze at the keys. She gently pressed her finger to one of the keys and it produced the sound. Her smiled widen as she heard the sound.

She pressed another key and she pretended that she’s playing a song. The crowd watched her performance and she played the song smoothly. She also imagined that she was wearing a light blue gown, which was her dream gown, and the crowd applause in amazement. But her views shattered like small shards as the first bell rang.

Kalsom told her friend, Asiah, about the grand piano in the main hall during recess. Asiah was her only friend that she had in that school. Even though they were not in the same class, they always stick together during recess and they shared a lot of interesting stories. Kalsom also shared her food with Asiah because Asiah came from a poor family. She couldn’t afford to buy food at the canteen. So, Kalsom was willing to share her food with Asiah without her mother’s knowing.

15 August 1971: Thursday

Dear Diary,

Today is the happiest day in my life! I touched the grand piano! I really touched it! The surface is so smooth, the colour is elegant black. I even pressed some of the keys and it produces a very nice sound. I wonder who can play the piano in my school. I never saw anyone plays that piano yet.

I told Asiah about it and tomorrow we’re going to the main hall because she also wanted to see the piano with her own eyes. I’m going to her house this evening but I need to finish the homework first. I hate homework! But I have to do it. Teachers said that if we want to excel in our study, we have to finish our homework. The Standard 6 examination is around the corner. I have to do my best.

Please pray for me!

Kalsom looked around the living room and the kitchen before going outside to play. She glanced at her sister’s room right next to hers. The door was shut. She then looked around again. No sign of her mother’s appearance in the living room and the kitchen. She shrugged and walked to the door. She grabbed her slippers and went out. She didn’t have to ask permission from anyone because no one even bother whether she’s home or not. But she had to come back before Mahgrib. If she came back late, she had to sleep outside of the house and she didn’t want that happen. She’s willing to be nagged by her mother, or get a few slaps from her but she didn’t want to sleep outside of her house. It was nightmare!

She went to Asiah’s house which was not very far from her house. She promised Asiah that she would play together with her. They usual played masak-masak (Malay for cooking) and they played with other neighbours. Her mother forbade her to play with them because they were very poor but Kalsom ignored it every time her mother scolded her not to. She liked to be friend with them rather than Shima, the friend whom her mother wanted her to be friend with. Shima was a spoil girl and Kalsom hated her so much because she’s arrogant.

As they were happily playing masak-masak, a green-coated Volkswagen Beetle slowly strode to Asiah’s lawn. Asiah, who recognized the sound of the engine, joyfully dashed towards the car. It was his uncle’s car. Asiah was happy because his brother, Marwan, was coming home for the weekend. She hugged her brother as he stepped out from the car. Kalsom looked at both of them and smiled. Asiah has a good brother and Marwan loved her so much. She wished that Azlan will do the same for her.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Broken Wings: 1

Chapter 1

It was her turn to take the books to the Teachers’ Room. She arranged those books neatly before carrying them. She loved carrying heavy things especially when helping teachers. She’s small in figure but she’s strong. She followed her teacher to the Teachers’ Room which was on the other side of the building. Her teacher asked her whether the books were too heavy for her but she just shook her head. For her, carrying books was like doing a charity.

She put the books on the teacher’s table and the teacher thanked her by offering her some money but she refused. She said that she did it in honesty. Her teacher thanked her once more before she left. She hurried to her classroom to take her bag. She glanced at the clock as she arrived there. It was nearly 1 o’clock. Her sister will come to fetch her soon.

She walked in a fast pace, went downstairs, and past the main hall before reaching the front gate. Something caught her sight as she past the main hall. Her feet suddenly stopped on their won. She gazed at the thing that stood on the stage. That thing wasn’t there before and by looking at the vibrant black of that thing from afar, she knew that she was in love with it. But she never knew what it was.

She realized that she was late so she ran as fast as she could to the front gate. Her sister, Nazatul, was waiting for her with her bicycle.

“Sorry,” she panted hard, trying to catch her breath. Her cheeks flushed as she ran nonstop from the main hall.

“You’re late, Som. I’ve been waiting for you for 10 minutes,” scolded Nazatul.

“I helped my teacher carrying some books to her table. It’s my turn today,” said Kalsom meekly.

“Hurry up, now! I’m hungry,” Nazatul grumbled and Kalsom hopped behind the bicycle.

The two of them always went to school together. Nazatul was three years older than Kalsom and her school was not far from Kalsom’s. Nazatul hated waiting for her sister under the sun as she worried her face will be tan. But she will wait for Kalsom until she arrived at the front gate. She never dared to leave her sister as she’ll be scolded by her mother.

Kalsom’s mind swirled as she rode on the bicycle. She was wondering about the black thing on the stage. She wished she could see that thing closer. She’d seen the picture of that thing in a book before and she wished that she could play it. That thing will produce a nice sound, just like she heard in a radio. And she wished she could learn how to play it and perform on the stage. Everyone will applause and cheer.

But all those wishes scattered like jigsaw puzzle pieces as Nazatul hit the break. Kalsom looked around and realized that she was home. She hopped down from the bicycle and went to the front door while Nazatul put her bicycle in the bicycle shed made by her father.

Both of them greeted salaam before entering the house and they could smell something delicious from the kitchen. Kalsom threw her bag on the chair in the living room and dashed to the kitchen. She was very hungry. Her stomach grumbled as she saw the food was served on the table.

“Come and eat, both of you,” said Mak Mah, the cook.

“Where’s Abang Lan?” asked Kalsom as she sat down.

“He’s eaten already. He said he wanted to go to his friend’s house this evening,” replied Mak Mah, putting the rice on Kalsom’s and Nazatul’s plates.

Kalsom ate the food heartily while thanking Mak Mah. After that, she took shower and checked her books in the bag if she had any homework to do. She only had two which are Bahasa Melayu and Mathematics. She decided to do Bahasa Melayu first because she didn’t like Mathematics.

14 August 1971: Wednesday

Dear Diary,

Guess what I saw in the main hall today? I can’t believe that it was there. But I didn’t have time to look at it closer because Kak Naz was waiting for me and she scolded me because I was late. Poor Kak Naz had to wait under the hot sun. She was afraid if she got sunburn.

Mak Mah cooked something delicious today which is fried chicken with curry. Mak Mah is the best cook of all! I think I should learn cooking with her. Then, I’ll show Mama and Papa and Kak Naz and Abang Lan that I can cook! They’ll be proud of me!

I have to finish my homework by today. But I don’t think I can finish Mathematics homework because it’s too hard and it got so many numbers. I better asked Kak Naz’s help. She’s the most brilliant in the family. I wish I could be like her. Then Mama will stop calling me Idiot like she used to call.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Broken Wings: Prologue


I watched her sleeping peacefully on the bed. Seeing her in this kind of state made my eyes watered. Every time I watched her calm, wrinkly face, I knew that she’s still fighting. She’s been here for almost a month and her progress was still the same. I’ve been taking turn with my brother and sister lately since I got work to do. But it didn’t mean that I totally left her here with no reason. As the eldest son, I’ll do anything for my mother, the most important person in my life.

I lost my father when I was 17 years old, two and a half months before sitting for the MCE examination. It was the most devastated year I ever had. But my mother instilled my will back again. I’ve been given a new hope. And now, it’s my turn to give the hope to her. I slowly touched her thin, wrinkled hand and slowly squeezed it. Deep inside my heart, I prayed for her health. I wanted to see her smiling face which was brighter than the sun.

I turned around as I heard someone opened the door. It was my sister, Humaira. She came with my aunt, Nazatul. They brought foods and drinks and put them on the table near the sofa.

“Where’s Aswad?’ I asked Humaira.

“He said he’ll be here after his class end,” she replied. “You look tired, Abang. You should eat and rest.”

“Humaira cooked Chinese fried rice for you, Abyadh. Come and have some,” said Aunt Nazatul and served the rice for me.

I smiled and sat beside her on the sofa. Humaira sat on a chair near mother’s bed. I ate the rice and it was delicious. It was my favourite, and mother’s too. I asked Aunt Nazatul to eat together but she said she’s eaten with Humaira at home.

“How’s mother today?” asked Humaira.

“The doctor said that she got strong will and she’ll recover soon,” I replied.

“That’s a good news,” Humaira sighed in relief. “I’ll accompany her tonight. You can go back home and have a good rest,” she told me.

“But today it’s my turn,” I said, wiping my mouth with a tissue as I finished the rice.

“It’s no big deal, Abyadh,” Aunt Nazatul patted on my shoulder. “I’ll be staying here with Humaira. You need to rest too or you’ll fall ill.”

I sighed and nodded. I’ve been taking care of my mother here for three days and I didn’t have enough sleep lately. I went back home after Maghrib and took a shower. I watched news for a while before I hit the sack.

As I was on my way to my room, I stopped at my mother’s room. Since she was hospitalized, this room was kind of abandoned. I slowly approached the door and turned the knob carefully. I switched on the light and looked around. The smell in this room didn’t change. I looked at the king-sized bed. I used to sleep there with mother and father whenever I felt scared.

I sat down on the bed and ran down my fingers on the comforter covering the bed. I pondered for a while before my eyes caught the small drawer near the bed. Mother always forbade me for opening the drawer when I was a kid. I wonder what she hid inside there. I hesitated for a moment but I need to know what’s inside. I opened the drawer and saw some books were neatly put inside.

I took out those books and looked at them one by one. They were covered in light blue leather. Light blue was mother’s favourite colour. She said that the colour symbolized peacefulness. I took the first book and flipped on the first page. It was a diary. I flipped randomly through the pages and saw her neat handwritings on each page. I never knew that Mother wrote a diary before. I flipped back to the first page. This one had been written in year 1971, which was 41 years ago.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Circle Quartet: 48

Chapter 48

“Surprise! Happy Birthday!” Everyone shouts in excitement and they clap joyfully.

I just can’t believe my eyes. One minute Jeff’s spirit has gone, the next Jeff is standing right in front of me beaming with excitement and his arms are wide open, ready for the bear hug. Oh, I really missed his bear hug.

“Tada! I’m back!” Jeff flails his arms excitedly. “Did you miss me, little buddy?”

I can’t utter a word but hug him as tight as I can. I can’t even hold my tears anymore.

“Alice…can’t breathe…!” I nearly choke Jeff to death. I let him go at once but he’s just laugh out loud. I scowl at him.

“Aww, don’t be sad, Alice,” Uncle Vlad pats my back gently. “It’s your birthday present from all of us!”

My eyes widen as I hear the news and look around to everyone. They’re all smiling happily. Mom and Dad nod to confirm what Uncle Vlad has said just now.

“Jeff is my birthday present?” I ask them in disbelieving.

“Yup!” Jeff ruffles my hair. “Those trio brothers have brought me to life.”

“Wow! This is…this is unbelievable! This is the best present I ever received! Thanks everyone!”

“Oh yes, I almost forgot about your present, Stefan,” says Jeff and looks over his shoulder. “Come out, boy. They’re waiting for you.”

A little boy appears from the door shyly. He has gruffly blond hair and a pair of blue eyes. I think I’ve seen this little boy before. He walks closer towards Jeff and clings to Jeff’s trousers.

“Stefan, this is your birthday present,” says Jeff while patting on the little boy’s head. “Say hello to the little guy.”

That little boy raises his head and stares at Stefan.

“Cody, is that you?” asks Stefan gently.

Cody? That little boy is Cody?

Cody nods slowly.

“You…you’re alive,” Stefan gasps.

“You better handle him with care, Steffy boy. This one is super fragile,” says Jeff in a low voice.

“You’re alive! Oh, God! You’re alive!” Stefan picks him up and raises him up to the air. He looks very happy to see Cody to come back alive again.

Cody’s eyes begin to water. Then, he starts to cry.

“Don’t do that, Stefan. You scared him!” I scold Stefan.

Stefan quickly put him back on the ground.

“I’m sorry,” he says in a low voice and his tears suddenly flow on his cheek. “I have done something really bad. I put our family at stake. I’m so sorry!” Cody cries bitterly.

“See? I told you that he’s super fragile,” says Jeff, pointing to the crying Cody.

Stefan kneels down and hugs him. That’s the sweetest thing that Stefan ever did.

“Hey, don’t cry, Cody. Everyone has already forgiven you.”

“He’s right, Cody. Welcome to the family back,” says Aunt Amethyst and hugs him.

Everyone from the Silver family hugs Cody and welcomes him warmly.

I hug him too. And I can’t help pinching his fluffy cheeks.

“How come he’s become so small?” asks Uncle Azure.

“He had sold his soul to Alse but he already repents before he died. That’s why he’s become a little boy so that he could purify his soul,” explains Alan.

But it doesn’t matter anymore. We’re going to live as a happy family again. No more fight. No more conflict. And no more secrets.

It’s been two years since the tragedy happened. The Academy is fully re-build, thanks to The Necromancer Trio – they helped a lot and now they’re back to their ‘unfinished business’. I don’t know what kind of business they run but they love to travel.

I continue my ‘un-finish’ study with Abbie, Stefan and the rest of my classmates. Jeff gets his position back but he wants to share it with Zayne. Uncle Vlad is nominated as the Main Head of the Council which makes him very, very happy. And he wants all of us to call him Uncle rather than Great Master. He really wants to feel young, I think.

I have finally graduated after successfully accomplished the tasks. I’m now officially an assassin and Stefan and I are given the title Heroes because we saved the whole clan. I think The Necromancer Trio were the ones who killed Alse. But, never mind.

During the Graduation Ceremony, Stefan and I were asked to give speech. Uncle Vlad was the one who have been talking longer than expected. He just loves to tell the stories when he was young, his experience fighting with some monsters – I don’t know whether they are true or not.

And today is the day where everyone has been waiting for a long time; my wedding day.

But it’s only my wedding day, actually. There are three more brides are in the Brides Room with me. Beatrice, Raina and Dafne are going to get married on the same day as I am. Raina is the most excited one because she really longed to wear a wedding gown – she’s wearing dashing pink which she claims the colour is very gorgeous. I hope that no one will hurt their eyes seeing that kind of wedding gown.

I wear light blue gown embroidered with silver laces. Mom is the one who made this special gown for me. Raven does my hair but since I cut it short, it won’t take too much time. Then someone knock on the door. It’s Mom, Aunt Ada and Aunt Ramona. They want to see the four of us before anyone else does.

When we’re fully ready, we gracefully walk to the Great Hall ushered by our beloved fathers. My Dad doesn’t stop saying that I look beautiful that day. Jeff announces our arrival and everyone turn their heads towards us and they are not even blink. We walk along the aisle in line – I’m in the first line. The Silver Brothers are patiently waiting for us. Stefan looks handsome in his tuxedo!

Uncle Vlad is crying happily, repeatedly saying that today is the most joyous day of his life and he wishes that he can get married too. Alex is calming him down by patting on his back. Granddaddy Saba is the priest today. Ace plays the organ while my little cousins are the flower girls. They wear nice little gown with little wings on the back. Cody joins the flower girls too.

The vow doesn’t take too long because everyone can’t wait to see us kiss. I can’t wait for this special moment too.

“Before we proceed with the kissing part, may I have the rings, Sable Black?” asks Granddaddy Saba to Sable. He’s supposed to hold our rings.

 “Oh, okay,” Sable smiles and delves his hands inside his pocket.

Suddenly, his face turns pale.

“What’s wrong, Sable?” asks Granddaddy Saba.

I have a bad feeling about this.

“I…uhm…the rings…,” Sable stammers.

“Where’s the ring, Sable?” I ask him in a very serious tone.

“I accidentally put the rings in other trousers,” Sable gulps. “And those trousers are in the washing machine.”

Beatrice, Raina, Dafne and I scowl at Sable. “I’m sorry,” says Sable timidly.

“You’ve ruined our precious moment!” Raina shrieks. Everyone nearly turn deaf because of that.

Sable screams and runs. Four of us chase him from behind.

“Give back our rings!”

-End of Book 1-